Professional December 2017/January 2018


Diary of a student…

Jennifer Clare MCIPPdip Payroll Officer, AECOM

been great, making themselves scarce so I could have quiet time to read all the material and type my assignments. A very good friend who is a payroll manager offered to mentor me through the course and would meet with me to go through new assignments and help me plan out what I was going to write about, which was a great help. As soon as the reading material was uploaded to the portal, I had to print and start reading it and try to do a couple of hours each night. I had to have the material read for the module review days. It did feel like my life was on hold at times because I planned everything around the module review days and tutorials; but I knew it would be worth it. Did the fact that the CIPP is Chartered or recognised within the industry influence your decision to enrol with the CIPP? And were there any particular modules of interest prior to enrolling? Yes, definitely; the Foundation Degree was recommended to me by my manager. I particularly enjoyed my third year which was all assignment based. Year two there were a couple of exams which I found stressful. The modules that really interested me were improving services and operations, as these made me look at the service I was providing for my customers and who they were. I also enjoyed flexible benefits, finance and budgets too. For someone who is thinking about studying for a CIPP qualification what would your advice be to them? Go for it! It is hard work and can be stressful at times, but it is so worthwhile. You will meet some amazing people on the course who will support each other and make some friends for life. Graduating at the end makes it all worthwhile. n

Can you give us a brief background into your life? I live in the north west of England with my husband Chris. Outside of work I enjoy going to the gym. Our favourite place in the world is St Ives in Cornwall – we try and holiday there every year. At weekends I enjoy nothing more than walking to our local pub and sampling the new gins they have in stock. Can you give us an insight into your career and qualifications background? I started working at age sixteen on a youth training course in a travel agency. I passed both my COTAC and NVQ3 qualification and stayed in the business for five years. After this I worked in some administration roles until offered an opportunity at a small bookkeeping business where I enjoyed seeing the process from start to finish each week. My manager encouraged me to take a bookkeeping course to open opportunities which I did at night college and passed. Before AECOM I worked for a civil engineering business as an accounts assistant. When an opportunity presented itself to cover payroll I jumped at the chance and was excited to learn something new. This was when I realised payroll was something I really enjoyed. I currently work for AECOM in Warrington running one UK payroll and three modified payrolls. I have been with the business for seven years and have my Foundation Degree.

Why did you choose to study the Foundation Degree? I had been working at AECOM for five years in payroll and had been to a couple of CIPP day courses. My manager at the time asked if I would be interested studying for the CIPP Foundation Degree; she had completed the course and said it had opened so many doors for her. We discussed what was involved, that I would have to spend weekends and evenings studying, I would get support, and that it is a recognised qualification within the industry. It seemed like the right time to gain the skills and knowledge I needed to progress my career. How important is this degree in relation to your career? It has been very useful in my current role through building my knowledge and skills and has given me the confidence to get involved in projects within payroll. I was a key member of the team for transitioning one particular payroll from one software system to another, and used this experience when writing my work-based project. Most of my assignments I could relate back to this project such as understanding the customer and improving services and operations. How did you cope with the work life balance and your study? My employer AECOM has been very supportive helping me get onto the course and with study days too. Colleagues within my office were happy to help by proof- reading my assignments and helping me tweak them where needed. My family have

| Professional in Payroll, Pensions and Reward | December 2017/January 2018 | Issue 36 12

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